“Out of this world” is one way to describe the incredible video captured by a University of Hawaiʻi Community College experiment nearly 100 miles above Earth.
On August 11, a 44-foot NASA sounding rocket blasted off from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying a scientific experiment designed by Project Imua Mission 10 students into space.
Project Imua is a joint faculty-student enterprise of multiple UH Community College campuses in affiliation with the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium that provides students with real-world, project-based learning opportunities. Windward CC students designed and built a camphor-powered sublimation rocket (named ScubeR, for Super Simple Sublimation Rocket) that was deployed at the peak of the NASA rocket’s flight—at 99 miles altitude. The Honolulu CC team designed two cameras and measurement devices to monitor the sublimation rocket’s motion.
Project manager Joe Ciotti, a Windward CC professor, calls the video captured by that Project Imua camera in space “visually spectacular.”
Ciotti continued, “The opening shows the limb of the Earth against the blackness of space and clouds covering the Atlantic. It then pans to show the second stage (of the sounding rocket) that separated moments ago, spinning as it falls back to Earth. Nearby is the outer protective skirt, tumbling after being dropped from the payload section. …(later), ScubeR begins to be deployed in the straight direction it was designed to follow.”
Project leader and Windward CC student Jared Estrada said, “Working the math and sticking with the science and engineering process we believe we have something that works and ultimately leads to success within the mission. I think it’s very successful.”
It’s been an amazing experience for the aspiring research and development physicist and the 15-member team.
Estrada said, “I would say Mission 10 is an excellent opportunity for students and overall awe inspiring for the scientific and engineering process.”
For Caleb Yuen, the Honolulu CC student responsible for developing the video cameras, the views of space were breathtaking.
Next up, Project Imua Mission 11. The team plans to launch a custom-built rocket equipped with a land rover and atmospheric detector at the ARLISS 2022 Come-Back competition in Nevada in September.
—By Kelli Abe Trifonovitch